How Do I Get Kickbacks for My Blog Posts?

This is a long way off from reality, but the Federal Trade Commission is looking at whether and how it can take jurisdiction over bloggers making false claims or failing to disclose conflicts of interesting regarding commercial products.

This part of the story stuck out for me:

Many bloggers have accepted perks such as free laptops, trips to Europe, $500 gift cards or even thousands of dollars for a 200-word post.

What I want to know is how, and where do I get my hands on laptops and thousands of dollars for my posts?

I’ve never been offered anything meaningful in exchange for my posts. I get PR hack mass emails all the time, touting this or that product or hotel most of which are of little to no interest. Occasionally I get a custom-tailored pitch, but usually even those are unuseful. And I actually get fewer of those lately, I suspect that companies have cut back a good amoutn on their PR firm contracts, which means fewer firms pitching bloggers (or at least me).

I did once accept a noise cancelling headset from someone that wanted me to review the device. I told them I’d try it out. I wasn’t all that impressed (it was ok, not great, and at an ok price point but not something I would purchase myself). So I never wrote about it, which probably makes the company that sent it to me happy compared to what I would have said.

I don’t even handle the advertising on this side, that’s done by the folks at, and I don’t even know about what ads might pop up until I see them online.

Ultimately I waitlist or confirm my upgrades just like everyone else. Why aren’t my posts and my readers more interesting to travel providers? I’d be happy to blog in exchange for two seats in Suites class on a Singapore A380…

(Hat tip to Chris Elliott.)

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

More articles by Gary Leff »


  1. I appreciate your blog and check it daily, Gary, and I don’t mind if you get some frequent flyer miles for giving us a personalized link to sign up ourselves for some benefits, when that link results in your getting some miles for the referrals. You have done that in the past, right?

  2. I did blog last night, for instance, an opportunity for which I would get a referral bonus (BankDirect).

    The ‘how do I get in on this’ is more or less tongue in cheek 🙂

  3. I would love any kind of place I could
    blog for gift. Senior Citizen with lots to
    say and way too many hours to occupy!

  4. Would this help stop the corruption of allegedly objective user generated reviews, such as CruiseCriticGate?

    Is RCCL Manipulating (owned by TripAdvisor)?

    From Jaunted (Conde Nast):

    Royal Caribbean Cruises Has Web 2.0 Viral Infection

    No surprise here: Royal Caribbean Cruise Line has a viral infection. For once, however, it’s not the Norovirus but that new-fangled byproduct of Web 2.0, the viral marketing infiltration. According to Consumerist, a group of fifty “Royal Champions” was outed by their own creator, the Customer Insight Group, as being a successful project whereby frequent positive cruise commenting on sites such as CruiseCritic was rewarded with free cruises and other perks.
    So what’s the big deal? Well, it seems that the “Royal Champions” weren’t always up front about their status as compensated reviewers, effectively misleading readers of CruiseCritic forums with their positive comments. Add to this the fact that CruiseCritic admins assisted Royal Caribbean in choosing the fifty, with one of the stipulations being quantity of posts, “with many having over 10,000 message board posts on various Royal Caribbean topics.” From here, the hole just gets deeper.
    Now that many RC fans feel slighted at not having made the ranks and most everyone else is disgusted at the covert trade of cruising for happy juicing, the trustworthiness of such forums is under fire.
    Due to CruiseCritic’s ownership by TripAdvisor, which is in turn under the Expedia blanket of travel sites, a viral marketing stunt gone awry could possibly continue to negatively ripple. Does news like this affect your ability to trust good reviews on travel sites, or do you already consider yourself an excellent shill-spotter enough to weed out the solicited from the unsolicited? While this whole ordeal is mired in serious muckety-muck, let’s hope it serves as a lesson for future viral marketers and as an argument for transparency.

  5. Why aren’t my posts and my readers more interesting to travel providers?

    I can answer that question of yours: you appeal to the cheapskate and that doesn’t give companies any incentive.

    Your blog is focused on discounts, savings, freebies, bonuses, and other bargain hunting. It’s EASY for travel companies to get chatter about discounts, so they’ve little need for you in particular. Even more so when the audience you attract is not a profitable group for travel providers.

    If, however, you had a completely different blog which focused on quality, luxury, experiences, and other non-monetary aspects of travel, then I think travel providers would find your audience to be a profitable bunch worth pursuing.

    It’s that simple. There’s not much interest in chasing cheapskate customers.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *